Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Top 5 Vocabulary Words I Learned from The Simpsons


I have seasons 2-12 of The Simpsons memorized backward and forward. Skipping the debate on when they jumped the shark, the show still puts out great episodes, but these are the seasons I grew up with and watched countless times from my homemade collection of VHS tapes. (I want to say I was on 30-something when season 1 came out on DVD). It was a difficult decision and many cuts were made; the final decision was based on the strongest examples of words that because of the simpsons, are engraved in my head. There are vast (and I mean vast) examples from the show, but these had the biggest impact.

(in alphabetical order)

Concoct
The Brother from Another Series, February, 1997
1 - To prepare by mixing ingredients, as in cooking.
2 - To devise, using skill and intelligence; contrive

Sideshow Bob and his brother, Cecil, are arrested and thrown into a police car. It drives off and police chief Wiggum stands in the road and ponders, "There they go, two criminal geniuses locked away together. Who knows what diabolical schemes they might concoct."

Integrity
Bart's Girlfriend, November 1994
1 - A sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition
2 - The state of being whole, entire, or undiminished

Bart is trying to impress a girl who turns out to be bad - she dares him to ride his skateboard down a steep road. During his initial descent, Bart gains speed and struggles to keep his balance. "Actually," notes Bart, "if the road surface maintains its integrity, I just might be able to hold on --"

Lamentably
Bart's Friend falls in Love, May 1992
1 - Regrettably
2 - In an unfortunate or deplorable manner

Marge buys homer a weight loss tape he can can listen to while he sleeps. Unbeknown to her, he was sent a 'build your vocabulary' instead:

Homer is nestled in bed, a set of headphones on his head. He reminisces on the things he and his stomach have done together before going to sleep. The tape begins. ``Hello, this is Dr. Marvin Monroe. Let's build your vocabulary. A -- Abattoir. Slaughterhouse. The cow was slaughtered in the abattoir.''

The next morning, Homer eats several handfuls of bacon.

Marge: Homer, has the weight loss tape reduced your appetite?
Homer: Ah, lamentably no. My gastronomic rapacity knows no satieties.

Rhetorical
Mother Simpson, November 1995
1 - The art of using language, especially public speaking, as a means to persuade
2 - Meaningless language with an exaggerated style intended to impress

Homer's mother is singing with Lisa and Homer in company:

Grandma: [singing] How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man?
Homer: Seven!
Lisa: No, Dad, it's a rhetorical question.
Homer: Rhetorical, eh? Eight!
Lisa: Dad, do you even know what "rhetorical" means?
Homer: [incredulous] Do I know what "rhetorical" means?!

Specious
Much Apu About Nothing - May, 1996
1 - Having deceptive attraction or allure
2 - Having a false look of truth or genuineness

A harmless bear walks into Springfield, resulting in the implementation of the bear patrol.

Homer: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm.
Lisa: That's specious reasoning, Dad.
Homer: Thank you, honey.
Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Oh, how does it work?
Lisa: It doesn't work.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: It's just a stupid rock.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around, do you?
[Homer thinks of this, then pulls out some money]
Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.

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